You know the feeling: as much as you try to save time, there are never enough hours in the day. You are constantly racing from one commitment to the next, trying to check every task off your to-do list. But what if you could master a few simple ways to save time and increase productivity?
Here are ten proven ways to save time and boost your productivity:
1. Clarify your priorities and desired outcomes
Productivity is not just about getting things done; it is about getting the important things done. Make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish, and rank them in order of importance. This will help you focus on the most important tasks first instead of being overwhelmed with busy work.
To be really effective at this, consider creating a life plan that provides an overall framework to help you consciously design your envisioned future. The life plan will then inform your long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals will in turn distill into your yearly goals, weekly schedule, and daily priorities.
You need to devote the time to do this first so that you can indeed experience the fulfillment that comes with achieving your goals. Otherwise, you may find that you are simply traveling faster on the wrong road, or you may be unwittingly fulfilling other people’s agenda while neglecting your own. Both paths will ultimately lead to frustration.
Think about the way Jim Rohn puts it: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
2. Make a schedule
Once you have determined what your priorities are, create a schedule for yourself and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you organise your resources and use your time more efficiently. If you don’t plan your time, allocating specific periods to predetermined tasks, it will be very easy to get derailed. At the end of the day, you will also find that you have left a lot of important things undone. The tasks you don’t schedule are likely to slip through the cracks or you may continue to defer them indefinitely.
When making a schedule, identify the single most important task that will give you the greatest fulfilment, and two or three other tasks that will help you achieve your most meaningful goals. Then focus on those tasks first. Even if you don’t get to tick off everything else on your list, you can end the day with the satisfaction of knowing that you have made significant progress.
The concept of saving time and increasing your productivity is not about achieving your biggest goals in one day. It is about taking consistent action towards these goals daily, so that you can achieve them eventually.
3. Avoid procrastination
It can be tempting to put off certain tasks, especially the ones that are important but not urgent. Don’t succumb to this tempation. Procrastination may feel good in the immediate but it will ultimately increase your stress levels. It will cost you more time and take a toll on your energy reserves. Try to tackle each task as soon as it arises, and you’ll find that you can get things done a lot faster.
4. Delegate tasks as much as possible
If there are certain tasks that someone else can do just as well as you, don’t be afraid to delegate them. This will free up your time for more important things. It can also help build up trust and teamwork within your team or organization.
5. Save time by taking breaks
When you’re trying to save time, it might seem counterintuitive to take breaks, but working nonstop isn’t going to be helpful in the long run. It’s important to have some downtime each day, or you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and burned out. Make sure to schedule some time for yourself, and use it to relax and rejuvenate. [Click to tweet]
After every two to three hours of focused work, you can block out 20-30 minutes for something that helps you relax. For example, you may want to take a walk, drink water, watch a YouTube video, or do something else that doesn’t feel like work.
6. Eliminate distractions
When you’re trying to focus on a task, it can be helpful to start by removing any potential distractions so that you can fully concentrate on what you need to do. You may need to turn off your phone, work in a quiet place, or use headphones if there’s background noise that’s making it difficult to focus.
7. Set a time limit for each task
Setting deadlines for yourself can be an effective way to get things done in a timely manner. If you don’t set a time limit for a task, it is likely to take much longer than necessary. You may tend to procrastinate till the last minute or stretch it to fill the available time.
This situation is widely known as Parkinson’s Law which states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Try setting deadlines for each task on your list, and see how much more quickly you can get things done.
8. Complete tasks in batches
If you have several similar tasks that need to be completed, group them together and work on them all at once. This will save you time in the long run because you won’t have to keep switching back and forth between different types of tasks. For tasks that require high levels of concentration, work on them when you have the highest levels of energy, and at a time when you will not be distracted.
Then, group together routine tasks that may not be very important and plan to do them during “off-peak” hours. These are periods of time during the day when you’re not doing anything productive. Use these moments wisely by doing small tasks that don‘t require too much concentration. For example, you can check your email while in the waiting room, ahead of a meeting.
9 . Break up larger tasks into smaller units
Trying to accomplish too much at once can be daunting and overwhelming. Instead, break up larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks that you can complete over time. This will not only make the overall process less daunting but also give you a sense of accomplishment as you check each task off your list.
10. Create a system that works for you
As you are well aware, there is no shortage of time management tips and techniques. But everyone is different, so what works for one person might not work for another. The key is to find a system that works best for you—one that helps you stay organized and productive without adding unnecessary stress to your life.
If you feel like you’re always short on time, remember that the very successful people that you admire also have 24 hours each day, just like you. You might want to examine your time management skills to see how you can increase your productivity and get more done in less time.